Anyone can be a victim of financial fraud. Arm yourself with these tips
We are sure you have more than once received an MPESA message informing you that you have won millions of shillings from a competition you didn’t even enter and that to get the money, you need to pay a small sum. Maybe you laugh to yourself every time you get a message like that, shake your head and say, “Who could be so dumb as to believe this?” It is quite laughable, but people fall for it daily. And you might think it is the uneducated, the poor or old people living upcountry who fall for it, but studies show that anyone can be a victim of financial fraud. The swindlers usually have different “offers” targeting different people. There are signs on dormant land in Nairobi bearing the warning: “Beware of fraudsters. This land is not for sale.” The rich are usually the targets here. I also can’t count the number of times I’ve seen posts on social media about job offers that pay insane weekly salaries, targeting the educated but desperate people. The point is, anyone can be a victim.
But that doesn’t mean they win or that you live in fear, always clutching your money to your chest not knowing when they are coming for you next. Protect yourself by looking for these signs.
What Tactics Are They Using?
One red flag is usually in the tactics they use. In fact, the Stanford Center on Longevity states that even though fraudsters always find new schemes that can make money melt off you and new ways of reaching you (Facebook, emails, etc), their methods of persuasion have remained the same throughout the years and that, you might add, is their weakness. They will put pressure on you to decide quickly, leaving you no time to think it over, and they love adding that only a few offers are left, a sales gimmick that always works. Humans are wired to want something that is valuable (if something is running out fast the assumption is it is valuable), and it is also human nature not to want to miss out. Next thing you know you’ve fished out your wallet.
Scrutinise Their Credentials
Simple things like a website that looks fishy (or no website at all) should make you think twice about doing business with anyone. Always verify their credentials with government licensing and investigation authorities. Don’t rely on the word of someone who knows someone who knows someone who deals with them, even if its family.
Is the Deal Too Good?
You know what they say about too good deals. Fraudsters usually offer investment portfolios that promise unrealistically high returns with very little or no risk at all. This should be your first sign to take your money and run, especially if a person is dodgy about how this investment plan works. Your gut is not wrong at this case – run!